Army trys to reopen roads as Lebanon remains paralyzed

Security forces are trying to persuade protesters to reopen roads across Lebanon through peaceful means but will not use force if they refuse, a security source said on Tuesday as the country remained paralyzed by anti-government demonstrations.

Aiming to defuse anger at the political elite and dire economic conditions, the government led by Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announced a set of measures on Monday including long-delayed reforms he said aimed to fight corruption and waste.

Hundreds of thousands of people have flooded streets across Lebanon since Thursday, furious at a political class they accuse of pushing the economy to the point of collapse.

Banks and schools remained shut on Tuesday. Early in the morning, the number of protesters in central Beirut and the northern city of Tripoli appeared smaller than on previous days.

Investors said the turmoil showed Lebanon was running out of time to fix its economic problems. The country has one of the heaviest public debt burdens in the world.

The protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful since Friday evening when some demonstrators clashed with the security forces in central Beirut.

Late on Monday, soldiers skirmished in Beirut with young men on motorcycles holding the flags of the powerful Shi’ite movements Hezbollah and Amal. Both parties denied any role.

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